NHL Morning Links - Sept. 18

After practicing with the Florida Panthers for the first time Tuesday, goalie Tim Thomas said all the right things about appreciating his time with the Boston Bruins, maintaining a harmonious relationship with Panthers goalie Jacob Markstrom, and hoping to help his new team reach the playoffs. Attending camp on a professional tryout contract, Thomas is expected to win a permanent deal with the Panthers.

In house, the folks at Hockey Prospectus take a look at the Anaheim Ducks in their Summer Skate series. And Craig Custance examines the challenges facing Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette.

Even though head coach Mike Yeo is pretty smitten with Nino Niederreiter, the 21-year-old isn't a shoo-in to make the Minnesota Wild roster out of camp. A start in the AHL for Niederreiter may still be in the cards.

Rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser put on some valuable muscle this offseason. DeKeyser is expected to be paired with Jakub Kindl on the Detroit Red Wings' blue line again in 2013-14.

A very patient Brenden Morrow is willing to remain an unrestricted free agent -- and off the NHL ice surface -- until the right fit presents itself. Money plays a part, but the opportunity to win a Stanley Cup is also a factor for the 34-year-old forward.

Acquired in a trade with the Dallas Stars, defenseman Philip Larsen may have the edge on Corey Potter and Anton Belov in the fight to fill the No. 7 spot on the Edmonton Oilers' blue line.

You can thank/blame the New York Islanders' use of advanced stats for the recent break-up of defensive pairing Travis Hamonic and Andrew MacDonald.

The flexibility offered by Simon Despres' entry-level contract could initially cost the 22-year-old defenseman a roster spot with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Here's the latest re: the battle between Martin Biron and Johan Hedberg for the right to back up New York Rangers No. 1 Henrik Lundqvist. Plus, Darroll Powe has a legit shot at a roster spot with Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin on the sidelines.

Attending New Jersey Devils camp on a PTO contract, Damien Brunner appears to be in a favorable position to make the team. During his first practice, Brunner skated on a line with Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus.

It's Olli Jokinen vs. Mark Scheifele for the opportunity to center wingers Evander Kane and Devin Setoguchi on the Winnipeg Jets' second line. No clear-cut winner so far.

Juggling his bottom-four defensemen, St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock may stick with his new pairings -- Kevin Shattenkirk-Barret Jackman, Jordan Leopold-Roman Polak -- to start the season.

While restricted free agent Cody Franson sits unsigned, Paul Ranger remains the favorite to skate as the sixth defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Here's more on how new coach John Tortorella intends to utilize star forwards Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin as "complete" players for the Vancouver Canucks. And how the twins are totally on board with the plan.

Odds are center Sean Monahan earns a full-time gig with the Calgary Flames. The 2013 sixth-overall draft pick is performing well, and the Flames are brutally weak down the middle.

It may be do-or-die, as far as a prosperous NHL career is concerned, for three young forwards (Drayson Bowman, Zac Dalpe, Zach Boychuk) with the Carolina Hurricanes.

In the final year of his contract, forward David Legwand is open to moving on from the Nashville Predators.